It’s been a year.
Millions of seconds.
It’s a long time not to talk to someone who you used to talk to every other day.
This night one year ago is burned into my memory. Every blurry detail. When I heard Dad’s voice, the panic, the hurt, the shock radiated through the phone straight through me, making my stomach drop, my brain click into autopilot and my heart shatter. I live that feeling every day. I didn’t believe the words that came out of his mouth. It’s still hard to believe it’s real.
The camera flash from behind those doors haunts me. Those photos exist somewhere in a dusty evidence locker and I wanna burn them. They shouldn’t be the last record of you.
I remember the phone calls I had to make. The ones I couldn’t make. The people I couldn’t find words to tell. I remember we were alone, and then all of a sudden we weren’t. Everyone was there. Our friends and family turned up in spades. Our house was full but it had never felt more empty to me.
My body carried me through those first few weeks while my mind was lost. Numb. Maybe you were there with me, pushing me to do what needed to be done. Making me strong. Hard.
I am so bloody pissed at you. For giving up. For leaving me, my kids and everyone. For not telling me. For telling me you loved me when you already knew what you were about to do.
I’m angry at myself. For not realising. For knowing that last conversation was weird but not asking what was up.
Do you see me shudder every time I walk into the staffroom at work? Do you know that every time I have to go in there I replay that last conversation? Do you see my brain run through every single thing I should have said to you but didn’t?
Guilt pours over every last memory I have of you, every decision I ever made. Every time I was too lazy and told you I was too busy. Guilt.
I see everyone elses guilt too. I get it. I understand it. I know there’s nobody to blame though. Unless somebody stood there and forced you to do it, there’s no blame to place on anyone. Doesn’t stop us blaming ourselves though. Blaming others. I can rationalise that it’s noones fault. But it isn’t that easy.
Hindsight is a bitch.
Sorry mum. I am so so sorry, a million times sorry. Sorry I forgot that you were human. Sorry it took me so long to come home. Sorry I wasn’t the best friend you needed when you were always the best friend I had. Sorry I let your problems become who you were to me. Sorry I lost sight of you. I’m sorry I let you down. Sorry I didn’t stand up for you when you couldn’t do it yourself. If I knew, I would have made sure you knew you didn’t need to be scared for us or yourself. I would have protected you the same way you did me my whole life.
I wish every minute of every day that I could turn the clock back and lift the burden from you. But time doesn’t move backwards. Being left behind by suicide is a lifetime burden to bear. You can’t forget. Understanding is hard. Forgivness is harder.
I understand in theory why a person chooses to end their life. But understanding doesn’t make it easier. Doesn’t make the loss any less. Doesn’t bring you back. Doesn’t explain and doesn’t bring me peace.
Everyone tells me that you’re in a better place now. Time will heal, give it time. If that comforts them, that’s fine. It doesn’t comfort me and I don’t want to hear it.
I hope you found what you were looking for, Mum. I hope you’ve found peace, ’cause here on earth, we’re suffering in a special kind of hell.
I wish you knew how much you were loved, how much you would be missed. Were you watching? Did you see them all? All those people who turned up for your Tangi? Hundreds and hundreds, Mum. They filled up our Wharenui in the nights leading up. Our Wharekai was overflowing on the day. I wish you could’ve taken a minute. To look, to see, to know that you mattered, that you are loved, that your life was worth it.
You’re missing out. We are all missing out on you. Kingston can walk, Baylee is toilet trained. My kids are growing up without you and every time I think of it, it breaks my heart.
You should see how much they love Dad now! Kingston can say Papa! He would’ve had you wrapped around his finger by now. I’m so sad he won’t know you. I try hard to make sure Baylee remembers you. She’s so clever, Mum. I wish you were here to see.
This is so hard without you.
I still need you. I’ve lost count of the amount of times something has happened and I’ve needed to be able to talk to you. I’ve never wished for anything more than I wish I could pick up the phone and ring you. Your job isn’t finished. I still need my Mum.
I need you to make me strong. To tell me to be brave. To give me that look and tell me to stop being pathetic. My kids need their mother to have her shit together. Their lives don’t stop just because my whole world has. They don’t stop growing, changing or needing me. Time waits for no one and if there’s one thing this shit time has taught me it’s that kids need their Mum. So I am holding on for them. I am ok for them. And when they sleep, when I have a rare few minutes without one of them clinging to me, I’m lost in my grief.
Maybe things wouldn’t be so hard if you dying was the end of it. But it wasn’t Mum. Losing you was just the beginning of our shit year. Our family got hit so hard and so many times. Even now we’re still getting hit and every loss is a reminder of your absence and the gaping hole you left in our lives.
I don’t visit your grave much anymore. Funny, cause on the day of your Tangi I didn’t wanna leave you there. It felt like I was leaving you alone and I didn’t wanna do that. But I don’t feel you there anymore and I’m tired of staring at dirt.
This wasn’t the right thing to do, Mum. It was far from it and I am more than disappointed that you chose that for yourself. For us who get left behind. Disappointed doesn’t even cover it.
But aside from all of that, I am so proud to call you my Mum. Proud of what I know because of you. Proud of what I learnt from you. Proud of every flaw you ever had. Proud of every accomplishment, every trait in my kids that they got from you. I’m proud of the home that you gave to us and the life we have because of you. I am proud of everything that made you who you are.
I saw you, Mum. I saw the sacrifices you made. I saw the struggles you had. I saw the love you had for us. I saw the amazing mother you were. I didn’t think to remind the strongest person I knew that she was strong enough.
You are my home. My protector. My best friend. I need you and I miss you more than words can describe. And I will miss you until we see each other again.
I’m sorry I didn’t say it back to you that day. Maybe it would have saved you? I love you too.
One year down, forever to go.
Where to get help:
- Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
- Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
- Youthline:0800 376 633
- Kidsline:0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
- Whatsup:0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
- Depression helpline:0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
- Rainbow Youth:(09) 376 4155
- Samaritans: 0800 726 666
- If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.